Engineering in Action
Shelley Levin, 5th grade experimental science and 6th grade life science

Can a rainstorm be a learning opportunity? In fifth grade science, it certainly can! This November, our fifth graders participated in a program called Stormwater in Your Schoolyard. Led by IslandWood educators. Girls had the opportunity to learn about storm water, explored how storm water affects our campus and engaged in the engineering design process: 

First, we began defining the problem by mapping how storm water interacts with pervious and impervious surfaces at Forest Ridge. Luckily enough, it started raining just in time to see how large amounts of water affected our campus in real-time! In particular, the fifth graders determined to focus on the water then flows down the concrete stairs down to the playscape and water draining off the 300 Building roof near one of the fifth-grade classroom doorways. 

Next, we researched a variety of storm water solutions, including different types of pervious ground, storm water planters, rain barrels, green roofs, trees, rain gardens and swales. Each fifth grader then began developing a solution, which ranged from a rain barrel outside the fifth-grade classroom to porous pavers along with the playscape and everything in between. 

The engineering design process continues with optimizing solutions. A storm water planter outside the fifth-grade classrooms could be in the works!